February 23, 2024 •
Following sentencing of former House Speaker Mike Madigan’s chief of staff, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced a series of ethics reforms to strengthen enforcement and require more transparency and disclosure regarding the financial dealings of lobbyists. House Bill 4591 […]
Following sentencing of former House Speaker Mike Madigan’s chief of staff, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced a series of ethics reforms to strengthen enforcement and require more transparency and disclosure regarding the financial dealings of lobbyists.
House Bill 4591 requires lobbyists to report compensation received from clients and gives the secretary of state more authority to investigate violations of the Lobbyist Registration Act.
The bill also would allow the secretary of state to investigate anyone who is lobbying but has not registered as a lobbyist.
The office could revoke, suspend, or bar a person from lobbying for up to one year if failing to file reports or pay a fine.
Lobbyists will be required to keep records for three years, up from two, or face possible revocation of their license.
December 11, 2023 •
Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed legislation inspired by the 2023 session’s chief judge battle. Senate Bill 4152 would have required lobbying groups to disclose spending on campaigns for or against gubernatorial nominees to state office, including the nomination or confirmation of […]
Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed legislation inspired by the 2023 session’s chief judge battle.
Senate Bill 4152 would have required lobbying groups to disclose spending on campaigns for or against gubernatorial nominees to state office, including the nomination or confirmation of any person for a position subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Hochul’s initial nominee for chief judge of the state Court of Appeals, Hector D. LaSalle, sparked fierce efforts to support and oppose his appointment, including unregulated campaigns that sought to alter the outcome.
The groups lobbying for LaSalle’s nomination voluntarily reported their lobbying while the groups lobbying against LaSalle’s nomination declined to do so, stating there was no requirement to report.
Senate Democrats blocked the nomination of LaSalle, marking the first time the Legislature has not confirmed a candidate for the Court of Appeals.
Hochul cited significant new reporting requirements and implementation costs not already accounted for in her veto memo.
December 1, 2023 •
The City Council recently passed an ordinance codifying lobbyist registration fees and fee penalties. The registration fee is $500 with a late filing fee of $10 per day for registrations and reports and a fee cap of $1,000. The ordinance […]
The City Council recently passed an ordinance codifying lobbyist registration fees and fee penalties.
The registration fee is $500 with a late filing fee of $10 per day for registrations and reports and a fee cap of $1,000.
The ordinance also implements a partial or complete waiver of registration fees for a local governmental lobbyist who, along with other criteria, is a salaried employee of an organization or association that is a 501(c)(3).
The ordinance also establishes a lobbyist training requirement and lobbyists must complete an online training session offered by the Public Ethics Commission with 60 days of initial registration.
Quarterly reports will now be due no later than the last day of the month following the end of each calendar quarter.
This ordinance is effective immediately.
November 29, 2023 •
The Bureau of Elections posted the Lobby Registration Act 2024 Reporting Thresholds, which change every year in January to reflect the change in the consumer price index for Detroit. The registration thresholds for individual lobbyist compensation and for employer expenditures […]
The Bureau of Elections posted the Lobby Registration Act 2024 Reporting Thresholds, which change every year in January to reflect the change in the consumer price index for Detroit.
The registration thresholds for individual lobbyist compensation and for employer expenditures on a single official increased from $725 to $775.
Exempt expenditures increased from $15 to $16.
The registration threshold for an employer making lobbying expenditures increased from $2,900 to $3,075 for any 12-month period.
The financial transaction threshold between a registered employer or lobbyist and a public official increased from $1,450 to $1,550.
The reporting threshold for travel and lodging reimbursements increased from $950 to $1,000.
Monthly food and beverage expenditures allowance for a public official increased from $72 to $76, and the threshold for food and beverages purchased between January 1 and end the reporting period increased from $450 to $475.
Employee reimbursements increased from $29 to $31, and the general gift threshold also increased from $72 to $76.
Late filing fees increased from $29 a day up to a maximum of $870, to $31 a day up to a maximum of $930.
October 11, 2023 •
The Appellate Division, Third Department granted a stay and injunction in the matter of Cuomo v. COELIG. The state Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government issued a statement from Chair Frederick A. Davie and Executive Director Sandford N. Berland […]
The Appellate Division, Third Department granted a stay and injunction in the matter of Cuomo v. COELIG.
The state Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government issued a statement from Chair Frederick A. Davie and Executive Director Sandford N. Berland announcing this decision allows the Commission to continue its work and fulfill its mission as the appeal works its way through the judicial process.
They also announced that registration terminations in the online lobbying application (‘LA’) have been launched for lobbyists and public corporation registrations for the 2023-2024 biennial period.
Lobbyists and public corporations wanting to terminate earlier than the end date specified in the lobbying agreement are now able to terminate the entire lobbying relationship within LA.
Additionally, the lobbying application will automatically terminate registrations with lobbying agreements that reach the end date specified in the agreement, and all registrations that reach December 31st of the second year of a biennial period, with no action required by the lobbyist or client.
October 9, 2023 •
A Sarasota commissioner has proposed an act to require lobbyist registration for any person hired for the purpose of lobbying. The act is intended to diminish clandestine lobbying done in secret by private individuals. This act will affect anyone paid […]
A Sarasota commissioner has proposed an act to require lobbyist registration for any person hired for the purpose of lobbying.
The act is intended to diminish clandestine lobbying done in secret by private individuals.
This act will affect anyone paid to lobby the city on any matter and require them to disclose their client and the purpose of their lobbying.
The act will exempt those who are not compensated for lobbying activities or those lobbying on behalf of the community.
Finally, the act will establish a public database with a maintained list of lobbyists, their clients, and the subjects of their lobbying.
September 28, 2023 •
The General Assembly passed House Bill 259 on September 22. Gov. Roy Cooper has indicated he will not veto the bill and allow the bill to become law without his signature. House Bill 259 increases the lobbyist and principal registration […]
The General Assembly passed House Bill 259 on September 22.
Gov. Roy Cooper has indicated he will not veto the bill and allow the bill to become law without his signature.
House Bill 259 increases the lobbyist and principal registration fee from $250 to $500.
It also establishes an expedited pass for lobbyists and liaison personnel to accelerate entry into the State Legislative Building and the Legislative Office Building during the hours these buildings are open to the public.
The Legislative Services Commission may charge lobbyists a fee of up two $2,000 and liaison personnel a fee of up to $1,000 per pass, for each regular session.
September 15, 2023 •
On September 11, the City Council of Kelowna, British Columbia established a Lobbyist Registry Council Policy. The aim stated in the new policy, Council Policy 390 Lobbyist Registry, is to promote transparency by establishing registration and disclosure requirements for those […]
On September 11, the City Council of Kelowna, British Columbia established a Lobbyist Registry Council Policy.
The aim stated in the new policy, Council Policy 390 Lobbyist Registry, is to promote transparency by establishing registration and disclosure requirements for those seeking to influence a decision of council.
The council chose a policy rather than enacting a by-law.
The Policy applies to all lobbyists engaging in lobbying of a council member.
Lobbying is defined as communicating verbally or in writing, or to meet with an elected official for the purpose of influencing a decision of the council. A lobbyist is defined as an individual, whether paid or voluntary, who lobbies an elected official regarding a matter within the council’s jurisdiction.
The lobbyist may represent individual interests or represent an organization, whether employed by that organization or on behalf of a different organization.
A lobbyist must register with the city within 5 days of lobbying a council member.
Each registration is considered active for six months, after which a new registration must be filed for lobbying activities.
It is anticipated that the Lobbyist Registry will be available on the city’s website in the coming weeks.
August 14, 2023 •
The Oakland Ethics Commission passed a Master Fee Schedule including a newly added annual lobbyist registration fee of $500 and a late filing fee of $10 per day for registrations and reports. The City Council approved the inclusion of the […]
The Oakland Ethics Commission passed a Master Fee Schedule including a newly added annual lobbyist registration fee of $500 and a late filing fee of $10 per day for registrations and reports.
The City Council approved the inclusion of the additional fees in the annual Master Fee Schedule yearly update.
Currently, the Ethics Commission is seeking to alter the new fee structure.
The commission is seeking to waive fees for 501(c)(3) organizations with less than $750,000 in annual revenue; a reduction of fees with less than $200,000 in annual revenue; and a reduced fee for third and fourth quarter registrants.
The new proposal has been sent to the City Council for their approval.
May 15, 2023 •
Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1317 and Senate Bill 5152, updating campaign and lobbying rules in response to current technologies and practices involving online activity and social media. House Bill 1317 was designed to shed light on special interest […]
Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1317 and Senate Bill 5152, updating campaign and lobbying rules in response to current technologies and practices involving online activity and social media. House Bill 1317 was designed to shed light on special interest “astroturfing” in grassroots lobbying. The new law expedites registration of sponsors of grassroots lobbying campaigns and increases the disclosures that must be made in the registration and any advertisements made by the lobbying campaign.
Senate Bill 5152 seeks to combat the advent of “synthetic media” political ads. These ads are created when, via artificial intelligence or other such programs, media is manipulated to cause a person (in this case a politician) to say or act in a way that did not happen. Senate Bill 5152 gives a target of synthetic media a course of action to force a sponsor or media platform to terminate the synthetic media campaign. The bill also gives the sponsor the ability to add a disclosure to the synthetic ad stating the ad or image is a synthetic media post. Both bills become effective July 23.
April 29, 2019 •
More ethics and campaign finance changes happening at the state level. Check out which states are making moves in today’s NYCU Video Digest!
More ethics and campaign finance changes happening at the state level. Check out which states are making moves in today’s NYCU Video Digest!
April 29, 2019 •
On April 24, a bill relating to lobbying activities by political subdivisions was introduced into the Iowa Senate. Senate Bill 639 would enact new statutes concerning political subdivisions contracting with or otherwise compensating a person to lobby on behalf of […]
On April 24, a bill relating to lobbying activities by political subdivisions was introduced into the Iowa Senate.
Senate Bill 639 would enact new statutes concerning political subdivisions contracting with or otherwise compensating a person to lobby on behalf of the political subdivision.
The legislation requires authorities for a political subdivision to use requests for proposals to solicit lobbying services, limits the duration for lobbying contracts to five years, and prohibits renewals of contracts without new requests for proposals.
Additionally, the bill requires public disclosure of the lobbying contract.
The proposed legislation defines “political subdivision” as a county, city, township, community college, area education agency, or school district.
The legislation also defines “lobbying” as direct action to encourage the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order being considered by the general assembly, a state agency, or a statewide elected official.
April 26, 2019 •
The city of Chicago’s lobbyist ethics training for 2018-2019 is now available. The deadline to complete the mandatory training is before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 1. The ethics training course is available at the Chicago Board of Elections website.
The city of Chicago’s lobbyist ethics training for 2018-2019 is now available.
The deadline to complete the mandatory training is before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 1.
The ethics training course is available at the Chicago Board of Elections website.
April 26, 2019 •
National: Constraints on Presidency Being Redefined in Trump Era, Report Fallout Shows MSN – Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 4/22/2019 The events that have followed the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report threaten to redefine […]
Constraints on Presidency Being Redefined in Trump Era, Report Fallout Shows
MSN – Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 4/22/2019
The events that have followed the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report threaten to redefine the legal and ethical standards that have long served as constraints on the American presidency. They also suggest that few, if any, of the traditional guardrails that have kept Donald Trump’s predecessors in check remain for this president and possibly those who will follow him. Current and former aides say they do not expect Trump to change his behavior, saying he is unlikely to be responsive to anything other than political pain in the form of a real revolt by Republican leadership or a sharp drop in poll numbers.
How the IRS Gave Up Fighting Political Dark Money Groups
ProPublica – Maya Miller | Published: 4/18/2019
“Dark money” spending is legal because of a massive loophole. Section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. tax code allows organizations to make independent expenditures on politics while concealing their donors’ names as long as politics is not the organization’s “primary activity.” The IRS has the daunting task of trying to determine when nonprofits in that category, known colloquially as C4s, violate that vague standard. But the IRS’ attempts to police this class of nonprofits have almost completely broken down. Since 2015, thousands of complaints have streamed in that C4s are abusing the rules. But the agency has not stripped a single organization of its tax-exempt status for breaking spending rules during that period. The IRS’ abdication of oversight stems from a trio of causes.
From the States and Municipalities:
Alabama – How a Lawyer, a Lobbyist and a Legislator Waged War on a Birmingham Superfund Site
AL.com – Steven Mufson (Washington Post) | Published: 4/24/2019
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wanted to clean up toxic soil in the 35th Avenue Superfund site in Birmingham. The agency notified Drummond, a coal company, and four other manufacturers nearby that they would have to dig up and replace the soil on hundreds of residential yards. David Roberson, Drummond’s vice president and top lobbyist, worried it would cost his company $100 million or more. Roberson and his lawyer, Joel Gilbert, decided they needed someone who could persuade the people living on contaminated land to protest not the pollution, but the cleanup. They chose Oliver Robinson Jr. then a state representative. Prosecutors ultimately charged Robinson with receiving bribes, while Gilbert and Roberson were charged with bribery, conspiracy, and money laundering in the scheme to stop the EPA.
Alaska – As Capitol Reporters Dwindle, Alaska Lawmakers Grapple with Rise of Political Blogs
KTOO – Nat Herz | Published: 4/23/2019
The press corps in Juneau has a new addition this year: Jeff Landfield, a failed candidate for state Senate who is now running a colorful political blog called the Alaska Landmine. He is one of a growing number of political bloggers who are trying to fill in gaps left by Alaska’s shrinking mainstream media, posing challenges for both lawmakers and the bloggers themselves. Landfield was standing outside the chambers where the House meets recently, and he was getting some attention because he had a black eye. It was a souvenir, Landfield said, from when a legislative aide punched him a few days before at a Juneau bar.
Connecticut – Two Rival Politicians Accused Each Other of Using Drugs. The Result Was a Showdown at a Urinalysis Lab.
Washington Post – Antonia Noori Farzen | Published: 4/22/2019
Two feuding politicians in Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, spent much of the past week accusing each other of being on mind-altering substances after getting into an ugly fight in the comments section of a local political blog. Bridgeport City Councilperson Ernest Newton and Board of Education member Maria Pereira concluded they could only settle their dispute one way: by challenging each other to a public drug test. Newton, whose political career was interrupted by a five-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges, once struggled with an addiction to crack cocaine. Both tested negative for all 10 substances. But the feud did not die down.
Florida – Andrew Gillum Agrees to Pay $5,000 Ethics Fine
News Service of Florida – Tampa Bay Times | Published: 4/24/2019
Former Tallahassee Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to settle a complaint he violated state law by accepted gifts worth more than $100 from lobbyists or their clients who had interests in the city and failed to report them. The Florida Commission on Ethics agreed to drop four additional counts in the settlement. The commission had found probable cause that Gillum violated ethics laws for allegedly accepting gifts from Tallahassee entrepreneur Adam Corey and undercover FBI agents posing as developers. Corey had been a close friend of Gillum and lobbied city officials. The charges related to trips to Costa Rica and New York, a boat ride around the Statue of Liberty, and a ticket to the Broadway hit, “Hamilton.”
Florida – Opioid Lawsuit Bill Stalls in Florida Committee Chaired by Sister-in-Law of Walgreens Lobbyist
Tampa Bay Times – Lawrencwe Mower | Published: 4/22/2019
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is suing the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors, accusing them of recklessly supplying Floridians with millions of drugs per year. But a bill that is critical to the lawsuit moving forward has stalled in the committee of a powerful lawmaker: Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, who said her committee would not hear it because of concerns the bill could invade the privacy of patients. Benacquisto said her objections are not related to her brother-in-law, Chris Hansen, a lobbyist whose clients include Walgreens – one of the defendants in Moody’s lawsuit.
Maine – Numbers of Maine Lawmakers Who Went on to Lobby
AP News – Marina Villeneuva | Published: 4/21/2019
At least 14 Democratic and eight Republican lawmakers in Maine have gone on to register as paid lobbyists over the past three decades, a practice that is being targeted by a bill moving through the state Legislature. The House and Senate advanced a bill to ban future lawmakers from any paid lobbying within their first year out of office. The state ethics commissions had called for the change in 2017. The Associated Press (AP) compared state lobbying reports with legislative rosters and found that nearly half of the 22 former lawmakers who registered as lobbyists over the past three decades did so within the same year of leaving office. The lawmakers-turned-lobbyists have raked in $3.6 million in total compensation for their firms, according to the AP analysis.
Maryland – Federal Agents Search Baltimore City Hall and Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Home
Washington Post – Ann Marimow, Peter Hermann, and Lynh Bui | Published: 4/25/2019
Federal agents searched Baltimore City Hall and Mayor Catherine Pugh’s home among other sites amid fallout from lucrative children’s book deals she cut with businesses connected to the government she has run since 2016. Pugh took an indefinite leave of absence beginning April 1 attributed to health issues following criticism of the more than $700,000 she was paid for her self-published “Healthy Holly” book series. The book-deal revelations have led to calls from the city council and state lawmakers for Pugh’s resignation; an investigation by the state prosecutor; and to the firing of several of her aides. Investigators are scrutinizing Pugh’s deals with entities including Kaiser Permanente, which was awarded city contracts, and the University of Maryland Medical System, on whose board she sat for many years.
Massachusetts – Amid ‘Slush Fund’ Criticism, Nearly All Legislative Caucuses Will Forgo Outside Donations
Boston Globe – Matt Stout | Published: 4/24/2019
All but one of the nearly two dozen caucuses formed by Massachusetts lawmakers say they will not solicit outside contributions, weeks after a new internal rule allowing legislative groups to raise private funds stirred controversy on Beacon Hill. The rule, which requires all caucuses to register with the House Committee on Rules, also bars lobbyists from donating and says caucuses must receive approval from House counsel before taking any gift of more than $50. The potential of taking donations outside of campaign finance disclosure laws drew intense heat, including criticisms it could create a legislative “slush fund.”
Minnesota – Minnesota Lawmakers, Lobbyists Describe Cautious Capitol in Wake of #MeToo
Minneapolis Star Tribune – Jessie Van Berkel | Published: 4/21/2019
A year and a half after reports of sexual harassment rocked the Minnesota Legislature and prompted two resignations, lawmakers and lobbyists describe a changed atmosphere at the Capitol. People are more cautious and aware of what crosses the line. There is also a new group of House members, many of them younger women, who are outspoken about addressing harassment and gender equality. But some at the Capitol say they worry the good behavior and awareness will fall by the wayside if the energy of the #MeToo movement fades from the spotlight.
Missouri – Lobbyist’s Crusade to Change Title IX in Missouri Stems from His Son’s Expulsion
Kansas City Star – Edward McKinley | Published: 4/23/2019
After his son was expelled from Washington University last year through the school’s Title IX process, a leading Jefferson City lobbyist launched a campaign to change the law for every campus in the state. Richard McIntosh has argued to legislators that Title IX, the federal law barring sexual discrimination in education and mandating that schools set up internal systems to police sexual violence, is tilted unfairly against the accused. His proposals create more protections for those accused of Title IX violations. Had McIntosh’s amendment been enacted, it would have allowed his son to appeal the result of his hearing to the state Administrative Hearing Commission, where his mother and McIntosh’s wife is the presiding and managing commissioner.
South Dakota – S.D. House Speaker Paid $12,000 for Lobbyist’s Legal Fees
KELOLAND – Bob Mercer | Published: 4/23/2019
South Dakota House Speaker Steven Haugaard authorized a payment of $12,000 for a lobbyist’s legal fees after he banned her from the chamber floor, and South Dakota Municipal League Executive Director Yvonne Taylor’s attorneys have asked a federal judge to dismiss the league’s lawsuit against Haugaard. Court documents say Haugaard called Taylor into his office and brought up her column from the league’s magazine. In the article, which appeared prior to the June 2018 primary elections, Taylor suggested voters make a distinction between what she called “The Normals” and the “Wackies” in the Legislature. One sentence said: “We desperately need to get that ‘wacky ratio’ down.” A judge issued a temporary restraining order against Haugaard and said the speaker was not protected by legislative immunity.
Texas – Conservative Group Empower Texans Sues Lawmaker to Gain State House Media Credentials
Texas Tribune – Emma Platoff | Published: 4/18/2019
Months after being denied media credentials for the Texas House, the conservative organization Texas Scorecard – a product of Empower Texans, a Tea Party-aligned political advocacy group with one of the state’s best-funded PACs – filed a First Amendment lawsuit arguing its rejection from the chamber constitutes “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.” Before the legislative session began in January, two employees of Texas Scorecard applied for media credentials in the Legislature. In the Senate, their credentials were granted; in the House, they were denied. The two chambers follow similar rules about who is allowed special journalistic access to the floor, and both prohibit lobbyists. But the chambers’ political atmospheres are different.
Washington – A State Senator Said Nurses ‘Probably Play Cards’ at Work. Facing Mass Outrage, She’s Apologized.
Seattle Times – Allyson Chiu (Washington Post) | Published: 4/21/2019
While debating a bill that would give nurses uninterrupted meals and breaks at work and protect them from mandatory overtime, Washington Sen. Maureen Walsh arguing that hospitals in rural communities should be excluded from the measure because the requirements would place too much strain on those facilities. “By putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals, I would submit to you that those nurses probably do get breaks – they probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day,” Walsh said. The comment sparked an online petition calling for her to shadow a nurse and “experience what really happens” during a 12-hour shift. The senator’s office has also been flooded with angry phone calls and emails as well as packages containing decks of playing cards.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.